B A N A N A S

In a move that will surprise nobody, today’s entry is gonna be about pooping.

Look, I think pooping is really important. For years I had a really hard time with it. I’d find it physically painful at times to poop when I felt all clogged. I had a shitty (half intentional pun) diet that made things difficult. I just assumed that pooping was something frustrating, that straining and forcing things out was how it went. As a kid I’d sometimes get headaches from the exertion. If this sounds ridiculous, it was. If this sounds made up, it wasn’t. I was just terrible at doing the act. As a result I walked around feeling constantly bloated, heavy in my body and uncomfortable. It was no way to live, and it took me years to accumulate helpful habits to ease the process. If this sounds like a lot of pipe to lay, it was.

These days, a remarkable amount of my habits are based around improving my bowel movements. I’ve made it part of my life. As a result, I feel so much better. I’m not bogged down all the time. The act itself is fluid and simple. Honestly, when I go to the bathroom now, peeing at the end of a poop takes longer than the poop itself. Things just flow. It’s miraculous, and sincerely awesome. It’s hard to put into words how much it’s improved my day to day. I’m not even sure I needed this much preamble before getting into it, but who doesn’t love a little vamping?

Okay, so diet is obviously the biggest part of it. My fibre intake is off the charts. I drink a ton of water, and coffee gets in there too. It starts with breakfast. Most mornings I have oatmeal, which is already fibrous. In goes a scoop of ground chia seeds and a scoop of flaxseed, plus a banana. I generally have a cup of water with it to aid digestion. Next, coffee. I’ll usually go through 2-3 cups per day. Sometimes more. To compensate for all this diuretic, I’ll drink a ton more water. I probably consume around three or so litres a day? I also speak into a mic constantly for work, so I’m chugging all the time to stave off dry mouth. I’ll normally have a piece of fruit with a light lunch, to keep things flowing. At dinner time I eat a heap of veggies. A big mound of greenery, normally cabbage or broccoli, alongside carrots or something. I also ingest an absurd amount of kimchi all day long. Wonderful digestive bacteria plus cabbage, what could go wrong? Then right before bed, I have 2-3 capsules of magnesium citrate. It helps me sleep, but it’s also a mild laxative.

Look, I get it. I’m the crazy one. However, the butt doesn’t stop there. Technique is also part of it. We all remember the Squatty Potty commercial, right? Posture is important. If you’re sitting up, you’re doing it wrong. The easiest way to counter this is by getting a product like the aforementioned Squatty Potty, or a poop stool. Something that lets you put your heels up. If you’re more flexible (and/or deadlift/squat regularly), you can go without. I typically straighten my back, raise my heels and try to grab them. It puts me in an optimal position for things to flow. There’s no more straining, bloat or discomfort. I go more than regularly (probably 7-9 times per day), but each bathroom trip takes around 3 minutes including hand washing. As stupid as it sounds, all of this has dramatically improved my quality of life. I feel healthier, and no amount of awkwardness around the topic can detract from that.

Sorry/not sorry for the info dump.

Succumbing to my baser instinks

Friends, I have a sad announcement to make. It’s with a heavy heart that I say, in the year of our lord, 2019, that I pooped my pants.

It didn’t need to happen. It was a shamefully avoidably tragedy. Lest we forget, WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY. In this day and age, for a grown man to poop his own pants, is unfathomable. Unconscionable even. There were outs, but I chose a track so singularly greedy and destructive that it brought on my own demise. I was hoisted by my own pootard, if you will. Note that I could have spared talking about this, but I chose to. I think it’s important for us all to come to grips with our own failings, so that we can understand how far we have fallen from The Great Creator and its vision.

Here’s the sitch. I’d walked out the doors of my workplace, and realised that I kinda needed to go. It wasn’t urgent, but that just made it so much more insidious. Like a coiled viper, waiting to strike, its scales my own unbalanced sense of judgement. I digress, it wasn’t a big deal. The ground was laden with snow, and I kinda just wanted to get the fuck home. I hadn’t eaten much, knowing I had a huge dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse coming up that evening. I had however, drunk a lot of water. See, I’ve noticed lately just how much coffee affects my vocal performance at work. I speak into a mic all day long, and coffee actively dries out my mouth. It really ramps up all those clicky mouth noises. I don’t want to invite viewers into a misophonic nightmare. To compensate, I keep a large bottle of water by my side at all times. I’ll take a swig of coffee, then three or four gulps of water. I’ve been drinking a lot of water, friends.

All day long I had weird poops. I’ll spare y’all an in depth description, suffice to say I desired more substance. Because I was drinking so much water, I had a nigh constant path between my studio and the bathroom. So when I left work, I figured there wasn’t much to get riled up about. I was sure I could hold on until I got home. I’m an adult. I have a degree. Surely I also had the kind of grit that’d allow me to hold it in? I did my writing during transit, and dialled in on getting it finished. There were several station transitions, and each time I assured myself I could hold on. My final bus took a long time. I was crammed, standing by the door, with no room for anything but to hold my bag by my knees. I huddled, uncomfortable, knowing something was coming.

Friends, allay your fears. This is not a story of your not-so-humble narrator pooping his pants in public.

I made it home. I hustled in the door and took stock of the situation. I needed to go. Situation over. Almost. It was snowing outside. I was wearing a big winter coat. I had my winter boots on. I was listening to music on Bluetooth headphones. I was still wearing pants. Obstacles, surely. I took off my coat. I undid my shoes. I paused. This was my moment. I should’ve gone, but instead I took my mp3 player out of my pocket. I turned off my Bluetooth headphones. I turned off my mp3 player. Hubris kicked in, and I let out a little fart. The idea was to remove the straw from the camel’s backside, instead it sounded mildly wetter than it should’ve. Still, I relented. I took off my pants. I placed my backpack on my bed. Then I entered the bathroom and sat down. I did my business and felt relief. It wasn’t a big poop, but it was one. I looked down at my underwear. There was a tiny little brown line. I’m talking 1mm thickness, maybe 2cm in length. Surrounding it was a wet circle. It had soaked right through my underwear. Disgusted, but mostly disappointed, I washed my underwear in the sink and put them in the dirty clothes basket. I checked my pants. No poop, but the wet circle had permeated my pants too. I sighed, washed them and put them in the dirty clothes basket. Pity, I’d just pulled them out of the drawer that morning. I’d been intending to wear them to the restaurant. No dice.

Friends, I think the true tragedy would be to have undergone this trial without learning. I can safely say, I learned my lesson. Rounding out that fourth paragraph, I realised I needed to poop and I was holding it in. I looked at the preceding paragraphs. I thought back to yesterday’s atrocity. I removed my fingers from the keyboard, and I went to the bathroom. To err is human. To shit yourself two days in a row, that would be something far less.

We can always strive to be more.

I guess you can say I buried the load…

Today I took a dump at work. I opened the door, and accidentally caught the reflection of some dude washing his hands. I looked him dead in the eyes, flushed the toilet and said “I’m sorry, that wasn’t meant to be a power move.”

Let me explain.

Our work toilets have auto flushers. We have two toilet stalls in our male bathrooms. One of them is an accessible stall. On principle, I try to avoid it if possible. I’ve never seen someone with outwardly visible accessible needs in our office. Some of these are very much not visible, I get that. So I try to be considerate and use the other stall. The other stall has a terrible flush. It’ll get maybe half the bowl down, or it’ll flush things, and you get remnants of torn toilet paper floating at the water’s surface. You can hold down the flush to make it more thorough. If you stand up, the sensor notices you’ve done it and flushes. One day I may have the moxie to just walk out and trust that it’ll do its job. Today was not that day. Today was almost that day, but I choked. I’d had a sizeable load, and upon opening the door to just walk out, I realised that the meagre sensor flush would not be able to contain my output. So I stopped, reached back to flush and hold down that button. That’s when I caught the eye of the dude washing his hands. There was nothing else I could do, I needed to flush the evidence. So I did, and apologised, then I explained the entirety of the above paragraph to him.

Last night at a party we had a neat conversation going. Somebody brought up the idea of making the worst double features you could. One thing I really appreciated about it, was having it work across multiple axes. It could be thematic incongruity, inappropriate juxtaposition of appropriateness, or strangely similar themes but with an element that just doesn’t match. For instance, I thought of Marley & Me//Pet Sematary. It’s great. you go from a touching film about two people getting a dog together, watching their relationship grow as this dog does, then the dog dies. I think. I haven’t seen Marley & Me. I feel like the statute of limitations on spoilers for that movie has waned. BUT THEN in the second part of our double feature, a bunch of pets rise from the dead to wreak havoc on the living. So it’s kind of a nice Hero’s Journey, but very silly. And with more zombies. The game is oodles, OODLES I SAY, of fun. I think y’all should play it with your friends.

Speaking of oodles of fun. Time to go home. CHOO CHOO.

What’s all this commode-tion then?

I knew my day would be better without eating more of that fucking cookie. I was like, I won’t sugar crash. I don’t actually want anything sweet right now, this is probably gonna make my throat feel weird before a big long weekend, I lose nothing and only stand to lose by eating more of this goddamn jumbo cookie. “It’s there” is a flimsy excuse and this path only leads to instant regret.

So of course I ate more cookie, because self respect is not something I possess. At least my tongue didn’t turn blue today.

On the topic of shitty decisions, I was thinking in the bathroom last night. Isn’t it crazy that plumbing came to be? Like, there were so many steps to get to a flushing toilet. We had to acknowledge that weird stuff was coming out of our bodies that served us no further purpose.  We needed to find somewhere to put that stuff. So maybe we put them in dumps, watering holes, etc. Then we were like “oh shit, I think this is making us sick. So we found places further away that would make our shit somebody else’s problem. But we needed it to be more efficient, so we created pathways in which our effluence could flow away. But then those got in the way of roads, and we needed those to distribute goods. So we went, where do we find space that won’t get in the way? Oh that’s right, there’s an entire world under our feet that we never use. So we created the technology to ferry that along without poisoning the surrounding soil. Then we discovered we needed to do it in larger quantities and big underground reserves would help. So we created an entire underground fucking city just to move our shit around. Then we harnessed physics and pressure for convenience’s sake to make toilets so we could get rid of our shit from the comfort of our own home. And someone figured out how flushing worked. And now I work in an office and I don’t even need to flush manually, a little robot sensor does that die me too. And I’m sure there are many steps I’m ignoring and my understanding is pedestrian at best, but still, egads, right? All of this happened so I could sit in the commode and make dumb puns?

I dunno, isn’t it amazing how many infinite decisions had to happen to get us to this point in history where we take everything for granted? Isn’t it nuts just how much goes into our daily existence? Don’t you feel constantly cowed by the world surrounding you, it’s depth and the wonder that rewards endless curiousity with more to learn? If I really wanted to find out how plumbing came to be, I could. I could understand practical concepts to fix my toilet if it ever broke. This is all documented in depth and easily available at the end of a couple of keystrokes and mouse clicks. I could do any and all of this and become a more worldly person who navigates the planet I’m a more conscious, informed manner any time I please.

But instead I do dumb shit like senselessly eat that fucking cookie. Are we sure the inevitable demise of humanity is really such a bad thing?

It had a Julia Roberts grin and everything.

I know I often joke that all I do here is talk about poop, but today I want to do just that. I mean, wanting to talk about dropping bum bombs is never far from my mind, but occasionally I write something about pop-culture or what I’m eating. Recent entries have focused on the ins and outs of keto. This one’s all about the outs, because today I dropped a game changer. Enough preamble, let’s get into this.

I’m mildly obsessed with what comes out my poop chute. Since childhood I’ve never ceased to find the hilarity in shitting. My first level up came when I discovered how to really poop. The raised ankles technique. Talk about a game changer. Where I’d previously strained and struggled to cleanse my intestines, I found a smooth sortie at my disposal (pun intended, obviously). I had my first metaphorical taste of slick bowel action and I wanted more. I looked into foods with high fibre content and folded them into my diet. Cabbage was a godsend. I oddly discovered it when a bunch of us went out for Korean. As an entree they put down a plate of chopped raw cabbage and QP mayonnaise. I loved it. I started steaming, roasting and sometimes downing it raw. I adapted chia seeds into my porridge. I started drinking coffee. The pieces came together and the faeces flowed easily. Bliss.

Keto has constricted my stream like a noose around my anus. It’s been hard to reckon with the loss of what had once been a point of pride. It’s not my first time mentioning this, so you know I mean it. This was one of the primary tools in my arse-nal. I’ve been recently reaching for something that just isn’t there. Sitting in my misery, waxing nostalgic for those days of long soft-serve strands. Better, more innocent times.

Today I had a breakthrough. Maybe the psyllium husk is kicking in. Or perhaps I drank the right quantity (read: lots) of coffee. In any case I felt a familiar burbling in my bowels and got excited. For some reason the lyrics “I’m gonna do a poo” popped into my head, to the tune of “We’re Going to the Zoo”. I, a nearly 31 year old man, giggled to myself. I was eager to unload. I sat down, raised my heels and grabbed my ankles. I didn’t strain, it all came naturally. I looked down and saw it. In the bowl there was a cute little mild curve, like the mouth of a smiley emoticon. I had a revelation. I felt the next package making its way down. I let a little come through, then pinched off a small nugget. It landed perpendicular to the smile, directly above it. Was I doing this? I tilted my buttocks to the right and moved an inch back in my seat. I pinched off another dot. It landed just to the top left of the first one. I took a breath, shifted my buttocks to the left and pinched out the last dot. I waited a second, heart racing, then looked down at what I’d done. Had I accomplished my grand design? My Mona Lisa Smile?

🙂

What kind of change was I expecting?

I feel quite bushed. Worn out. Flattened. Wrecked. Ruined might be stretching it a bit far, but in any case I’m feeling under the weather. Easy sentiment when it’s snowy and gross out. I stayed home from work today. I tried, oh God did I try. I got on a crowded bus down to the station. The train platform was wall to wall people. I felt sweaty and achy. Slightly out of it. I’ve felt a little off all day. I’m still not right as rain. I wish I could blame all the tired and cliché expressions I’m tossing out on that, but really they’re a part of who I am. In any case, I headed back to work from home, but on the way realised I was quite possibly unwell. Temperature of 96.5°, which isn’t crazy far off, but neither is it a picture of perfect health. I tend to feel guilty taking sick days, but end most years with an abundance of them. They’re there (there, there) for a reason right?

This weird thing has happened in the past few years, that if I’m just butting around at home I have a hard time doing zero productive things. I tried to take it easy today, but still kept pottering around, doing washing and the like. At some point I resolved to take it easier and tooled around on the internet. I watched a couple of episodes of Lovesick‘s new season. The show is fine, watchable and totally mindless. In short, it’s basically the perfect kind of sick day TV.

I could’ve picked up my malaise from any number of convalescent pals. Hell, my girlfriend has been feeling a bit run over lately. It would surprise me zero at all to discover that the dastardly keto flu was still hanging about. I knew I had to increase my sodium intake, but most days I’ve been getting up to one or two grams. Apparently for the first little while I should be at three or four grams per day. Six days in, I still have no idea if I’ve entered ketosis. I do know that (unlike the first few days) I’m actually getting hungry around meal time. That could also be the fact that I’m hovering around 1400 calories per day. It’s not a huge amount, especially on gym days.

One thing that hasn’t sorted itself out yet is my digestive tract. I’m still not pooping like I want to be pooping. Let’s get one thing straight, before trying keto, pooping was one of my legit skills. I read a great article years ago about someone who created a blog where she’d do absolutely everything Oprah suggested for a year. The logline (seriously, no pun intended. You’ll see) was about doing “S” shaped poops. Oprah had a guest on who talked about stool health (maybe this show is up my alley). They said that a poop with two curves was an indication of a great digestive tract. Since then, I’ve prided myself on my ability to create lengthy and curvy poops in all manner of shapes. “S” was almost too easy. I’ve made “M/W”s, pretzels, ampersands and maybe even the Prince symbol. Once I discovered coffee, I’d poop even more. I’d drop heavy loads many times per day. I felt transcendent. Lighter than air, even.

As for the last few days, it’s dwindled to rabbit pallets and fun size bars. I expected that I’d lose weight on this diet, but I didn’t think I’d lose such a massive part of myself. I feel like I’ve lost a part of my core identity. Still, I’m not gonna take this sitting down. I’ve been continuing to drink coffee and eating a ton of fibrous foods. While I wasn’t sure if they were keto, I’ve discovered that I could fold chia seeds and nutritional yeast back into my diet. I got a bag of psyllium husk powder, so we’ll wait and see if that penny drops (though I’d be happier if it were a pound).

At the end of the day, it’s all about the bottom dollar.

Is there anything a seven year old boy could love more than dinosaurs performing fatalities?

Because I want to write about anything but keto today (it’s… going. At least I had a couple of lil’ baby poops today), I’m gonna turn my attention to some of the new Magic the Gathering spoilers for Rivals of Ixalan. If Magic ain’t your thing, come back tomorrow (when I’ll most definitely mention poop again).

Dinos, pirates and… vampire conquistadors? Oh my. Rivals of Ixalan is a mere week or two away and I’m excited to dig into these EDH goodies. While standard will no doubt continue to be relatively stale while Scarab God and the full energy suite are in the format, Ixalan is at least buffing up Commander with some fun new toys. In sublimely selfish fashion, I’m gonna look at some nifty gains for my Primal enRage deck helmed by Marath of the Wild. Let’s get into it!

I talked about what the deck would resemble here, but as a basic primer for what the deck does, it tries less to be a boring Marath toolbox and more to enable Enrage shenanigans (or legacy Enrage style abilities like Stuffy Doll, Boros Reckoner, Spitemare, Sprouting Phytohydra, etc). Most everything in there passes the Aether Flash test and if I ever get out Pyrohemia, it’s a good time (for me, not others). It’s been playing alright, but has needed a couple more cards to eke out wins. What does Rivals bring us?

First up we have Zacama, Primal Calamity. This big ol’ dino comes in and stomps the world around him flat. Have you got a fancy robot or aura? Dead. What about your precious tiny critters? Taste Zacama’s heel! Nine mana is a ton. There’s no getting around that. However, my Marath deck does a fair bit of ramping thanks to the usual complement of staples (Kodama’s Reach, Cultivate, format all star Fertilid, etc) and the deck’s MVP: Ranging Raptors. Getting to 11 mana isn’t uncommon or difficult, so Zacama will do its fair share of work. Thankfully I don’t run Temur Sabretooth or Cloudstone Curio. I’m not interested in winning with cheesy infinite mana combos.

Forerunner of the Empire isn’t a dino, but he grabs them. The card isn’t amazing, but it has a couple of features I like. First off, he passes the Aether Flash test. Secondly, he grabs dinos while enabling them. That static ability not only does work (especially with a Rite of Passage in play) with getting Enrage online, but it’s a “may” ability to prevent me from destroying all of my own stuff. I expect that Raptor Hatchling will be BFFs with this dude (after it gets a +1/+1 counter or two from Marath).

Forerunner’s next best friend is bound to be Polyraptor. This silly bulk mythic is a pumped up version of Sprouting Phytohydra that can actually attack and makes 5/5s, which have a habit of ending the game. I’ve gotta watch out for its interaction with Aether Flash, which creates an endless loop if I don’t have some way of ending it. In goes Impact Tremors, so I can at least burn out all my opponents while I’m at it. If this thing costs eight to cast, I’m alright with an unwieldy three card combo to close out games.

Another fat, splashy dino is what’s being translated at the moment as Silver-Armored Ferocidon. The ability could work out to be pretty mean, or at the very least help me end games. Running Pyrohemia, this could put the kibosh on my opponents’ boardstate, especially with Seedborn Muse on the table. These are the kind of large scale Enrage effects the deck was missing.

Speaking of large scale Enrage effects, “Trapjaw Regisaur” is a doozy. There are some serious Deepthroat shenanigans going on with this lizard. Does it have a black hole for a stomach? In any case, while I don’t expect it to survive forever, it should manage to keep a couple of my opponents’ creatures at bay while the rest of mine slay. It’s competitively costed and sized and earns its slot. God forbid if I manage to give it indestructible or hexproof. Or what if I pinged it a bunch of times in response to a wrath in order to save my other dinos?

Like this lil’ guy. Siegehorn Ceratops. It starts out tiny, but gets massive pretty damn quickly. It’ll need help from Marath to survive Aether Flash, but if it does I’ll have gained a 4/4 for 3 that’ll only grow. Imagine having a 5/5 Marath and this, having the capacity to make a 12/12 at will? Seems sweet as fuck.

The last dino I’m considering is less fierce, but a useful roleplayer. Also it saves Siegehorn Ceratops from Aether Flash. Temple Altisaur. See, my favourite sweeper in the deck is Blasphemous Act (for good reason. It’s like dropping a Brick… House on the board). It plays very well with all of the Stuffy Doll variants. It does, however, kill my critters, even if my Enrage dinos give off a parting shot. In other words, it’s a saur spot. The Altisaur doesn’t survive Blasphemous Act, but it’s pretty much dino Jesus, sacrificing itself for the rest of the herd. Or, y’know, it just puts on Darksteel Plate and goes to town. If Boros Reckoner gives its life by dealing 13 damage, I’m probably okay with that.

I’d always hoped that Rivals would give Primal enRage the boost it needed. In a few weeks, there’ll be no more need for dreams. The set isn’t even all spoiled, but I feel like I have been.